2023 Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport Plus AWD

If luxury is a feeling, the Genesis GV70 offers it up in spades
If luxury is a feeling, the Genesis GV70 offers it up in spades

by Imran Salam | August 2, 2023


What exactly is luxury these days? Features that were once considered luxurious, like heated seats or keyless entry, are standard on most cars today. Even higher-end tech features like radar cruise control and smart apps are available on run-of-the-mill vehicles. Is it build quality? Some so-called luxury marques are bested by Honda, Toyota, and sometimes even Kia, so it can’t be that. Is luxury simply a feeling, then? I’d argue it is — you want to feel special, like you’re being treated well and with respect. Like your needs are being taken car of without interfering with your life. Enter the 2023 Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport Plus AWD, a coupe-like SUV that aims to be the Alfred to your Batman.

Genesis hasn’t been around very long, with the very first car rolling off the assembly line in 2007 — and back then, it was technically a model under parent company Hyundai. Most luxury makes have been around for a very long time, with many having already celebrated their centennial anniversary. Genesis, on the other hand, is younger than I am — and I’m in my late 30s.  Jumping into a hyper-competitive market heavily reliant on reputation and credibility is no easy feat, but much like Toyota did with Lexus when I was a kid, Genesis is making inroads by over-engineering their vehicles and offering them at a price point lower than similarly equipped competitors.

And you know what? It’s working. If you can get past the fact Genesis doesn’t have a long history, or the detractors who say, “But it’s a Hyundai!” you’ll be gifted with an all-around pleasant automotive experience.

Starting with the looks, Genesis has managed to quickly create a unique identity, offering sleek exteriors with big grilles that evoke a bit of Bentley, but nonetheless maintain a sense of uniqueness from most other vehicles on the road. The most recent updates with the split lighting designs lend an unmistakable look. You won’t confuse the GV70 for a BMW X3 or a Mercedes-Benz GLC; it’s elegant and although I can’t quite put my finger on it, it certainly looks luxurious. The dark chrome grille, the jewel-like lighting, the 21-inch wheels all come together to give the GV70 an athletic but luxurious look, like an athlete in a tuxedo. [Or Bruce Wayne. —Ed.] Yes, I am totally enamoured by the GV70’s styling, and part of the reason is because it seems to pull it off rather unexpectedly and effortlessly.

Stepping inside the GV70 doesn’t take away from that experience. In our top-trim Sport Plus AWD tester, you’re greeted to high quality materials, from the quilted leather on the seats to the unique carbon fibre-like trim. Even the textured controls do a good job of mimicking knurled metal. The huge, centre-mounted 14.5-inch screen is adorned with a clean user interface and elegant-looking screensavers showing architecture, a night skyline, or even an oceanfront. The 3D-effect digital gauge cluster is hard to show in photos, but some clever tech monitors your eyes to continually adjust the depth of the effect. I tend to prefer analog gauges, but the GV70’s digital cluster gives me that feeling while being infinitely more informative. Kudos to Genesis for using very unique gauges and animations, too, depending on the drive mode you’re in.

The 18-speaker Lexicon sound system (with wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) sounds good, but it’s lacking a bit of bass and some vocal staging. Still, it’s hard to fault the GV70 much. The centre console has a mix of touch controls and physical switchgear, making it extremely easy to navigate, especially the climate controls, which have their own screen. Using a knob for the infotainment and a similarly sized circular shifter right below is perhaps an odd design choice, as I found myself accidentally spinning the infotainment knob instead of the gear shifter a couple of times, but at least both have different textures.

Speaking of the shifter, it has a crystal effect and glows a clean white at night, and turns to red when you shift into reverse. The ambient lighting continues throughout the rest of the cabin, offering a pleasant but not overwhelming level of ambience. If luxury is a feeling, the GV70 offers it up to you in spades.

Technology is paramount to the Genesis GV70’s experience, with everything feeling like it’s there for a purpose.  The aforementioned 3D gauge cluster certainly looks cool, but also provides you with a host of information without coming off as gimmicky or cluttered. Little UI touches, like the wiper settings coming up on screen or the tachometer changing to a parking sensor screen with a blinking red surround when a car is passing behind you as you reverse, is nice.  The GV70 will even alert you when the car ahead has started moving and you haven’t — get off your phones, people!

What’s more, cameras on either side of the GV70 give you a view of your blind spots when signaling and changing lanes. You can use the key fob to start the car, but also pull it out of tight parking spaces or your garage. There’s a fingerprint sensor you can use to start the car. You can even adjust the brake effort from comfort to a more grabby sport setting. The adaptive cruise control works very well, and unlike some systems from other makes, doesn’t immediately yell at you for taking your hands off the wheel. And that’s the thing — the GV70 has tons of sensors and technology. In some ways, it’s constantly warning you about something, but it does so in a way that is so unobtrusive, you don’t mind. Actually, you may even appreciate it. It’s not a nagging helicopter parent; it’s Alfred watching your back as you take on the world.

And you take on the world with a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6, making 375 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and a stout 391 lb-ft of torque at a very low 1,300 RPM. Lower trims make do with a still-strong, 300-hp turbo-four. All this power is transmitted to all four wheels via a surprisingly snappy 8 speed automatic transmission. Ride quality is also superb thanks to the adaptive suspension that adjusts in real time to road conditions. There are a number of drive modes for on- and off-roading, and Genesis does a good job of creating differentiation within each one; Sport mode, for instance, dials in sharper throttle response, more aggressive shifts, and more (fake) engine noise.

I appreciated the way the Genesis GV70 drove, in that it gave you a sense of athleticism and confidence while making it clear it’s made to be a luxury vehicle. It’s not trying to prove to you that it’s sporty with teeth-rattling sport suspension tuning, yet it doesn’t coddle you like your father’s old Buick. The GV70 lets you know that it’s competent all-around and can handle almost anything you throw at it. It’s here to serve your needs, without bothering you or ever getting in your way.

Fully optioned at $77,500, the 2023 Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport Plus AWD isn’t inexpensive, but it provides excellent value. Rivals like the X3 M40i and the GLC 43 top out well north of $80,000, as will the Lexus RX500h.  The Germans do offer more performance, and the Lexus might be a touch softer overall, but I’d argue the GV70 is among the best at balancing sporty capability with true luxury.  At least that’s what I feel.  And what is luxury but a feeling?

See Also

2022 BMW X3 M40i xDrive

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC

2022 Porsche Macan

Vehicle Specs
Midsize luxury crossover
Engine Size
3.5L twin-turbocharged V6
Horsepower (at RPM)
375 at 5,800 rpm
Torque (lb-ft.)
391 at 1,300 rpm
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Imran Salam

Staff Writer

Imran is a true enthusiast who you'll find at shows, local meets, Sunday drives or the track. He appreciates the variety the car industry has to offer, having owned over a dozen cars from different manufacturers. Imran is grateful to own one of his childhood poster cars and enjoys inspiring the next generation. When Imran is not behind wheel he is found playing basketball or spending time with family.

Current Toys: '13 Boxster S 6MT, '24 Integra Type S, '08 328xi